Santa Monica Lookout
|Construction Crews on Santa Monica’s California Incline Race Against El Nino|
By Niki Cervantes
October 21, 2015 -- Construction crews for the $20 million renovation of Santa Monica’s California Incline are bracing for the impact of El Nino, working hard to make enough progress on the project to survive the heavy rains predicted for early next year.
Crews this week reached the half way mark on the project, said Curtis Castle, a civil engineer for the City.
Crews crossed a big hurdle last Friday, when they completed the third and final concrete pour for the Incline Bridge deck, City officials said.
Starting at about 7 a.m., some 1,000 cubic yards of concrete were pumped via two pumps to the final deck portion of the bridge. The operation took more than eight hours and 100 mixer trucks pouring enough concrete to fill that section of the bridge, which is 245 feet long by 52 feet wide and 1.8 feet deep, a City spokesperson said.
That part of the federally funded renovation completed the riskiest and most disruptive part of the project, which required an elaborate plan to reroute traffic in the heavily congested city, Castle said.
“We had a huge game plan,” he said. By the time of Friday’s pouring, there were few complaints, he added.
Completing the deck before what is forecast to be a rainy winter was important, Castle said, adding that the generally dry summer weather helped.
“One concern with the concrete work was El Nino,” he said. “The construction team is happy” to have completed pouring the deck, he said, adding that there is another half of the Incline’s reconstruction to complete.
“We’re feeling better, but we can only do so much,” Castle added. “There are some things you can’t plan for.”
Although there is still some debate, most weather forecasters are predicting a wet El Nino winter ahead with intense rains possibly starting in January. Southern California seemed to get a hint of what could be in store when severe thunderstorms and flash floods hit the area late last week.
To complete the Incline project, construction crews must still drill into the soil and install storm drains, erect barrier rails, build the barrier between the bike path and vehicular traffic lanes and pave the bottom half of the roadway, Castle said.
Started in April, the more-than-year-long project is intended to improve the safety of bridge, which connects Ocean Avenue to Pacific Coast Higher (PCH).
The joint project with the California Department of Transportation will replace the storied 85-year-old Incline with a new ramp that includes a bike path, widened sidewalks and meets current earthquake safety codes.
Project updates can be found at www.smconstructs.org. A dedicated helpline at (888) 303-6026 has also been set up.
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